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Sunscreen for kids

12 best sunscreens for kids 2024: The safest sunscreen for babies, toddlers and children

From fragrance-free formulas to eczema-friendly sun protection for kids

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Carla Challis
Commerce Partnerships Editor
Updated: July 11, 2024
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Every parent knows that sunscreen for kids is an absolute no-brainer – there’s not a sunny days go by that we’re not slathering our little ones in child-friendly sunscreen. And now is the time to stock up, ready for the June temperatures to rise later this month. Because as soon as the warm weather hits, you know your kids will be out enjoying the sun.

We want our kids to enjoy every moment of summer and the onus is on us, as parents, to keep them safe in the sun. As a parent, I know the struggle of applying sun lotion to my daughter before school but as they’re playing in the school fields at lunchtime, its imperative enough SPF is applied to keep her protected for as long as possible.

There are hundreds of sunscreens for kids available, formulated to be sensitive enough for a child’s delicate skin, which is more sensitive to UV damage. From sunscreen for children that’s eczema-friendly to waterproof, roll on, and mineral sunscreen for kids, the hard part is knowing where to start – which is why we called in the experts.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB protection?

 “UVA is prevalent every day of the year. You cannot feel it on your skin but if there is sunlight, UVA will be penetrating the skin. UVB you can feel on the skin - it's the burning we feel when we are out in the sunshine that causes sunburns, freckles and tans,” explains Medical Expert & Skin Specialist, Dr Ejikeme.

“Whilst UVB is what causes our sunburns, its level of skin penetration is far more superficial to UVA, which penetrates the skin deepest. Both, however, can cause skin cancers.”

What type of sunscreen is best for babies and children?

A sunscreen with a high SPF factor (30 plus, ideally SPF50) that offers both UVA and UVB protection, is the best sunscreen to buy for babies and children. 

Look for ones that offer upwards of eight hours protection, to minimise the amount of times you have to apply it to your wriggly toddler, and if they’re playing in or around water, always look for a water resistant sunblock. Sensitive or eczema-prone skins should look for sunscreen with non-irritating, soothing formulas – look for ones whose active ingredients are not zinc or titanium, which can irritate skin. Alcohol-free and fragrance-free SPFs are always a winner for kids too.

If your child is having to take their own SPF to school, for them to apply themselves, try one of the roll-on styles which are less messy and easier for them to literally roll on, without accidently spraying their friends or their uniforms, or squeezing out more than is needed. My five-year-old is now a pro at applying the roll-on type.

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When should you apply sunscreen to kids?

Apply liberally at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply frequently, especially after bathing, recommends Charlotte Vøhtz, founder of organic skincare brand Green People. “Try to avoid the heat of the day between 10am-3pm and babies under six months should avoid all sun exposure. And lastly, they should always wear a wide-brimmed sun hat, preferably tied on.”

How I chose the best sunscreen for kids

  • Personal reviews: I polled the HELLO! team’s parents to see which sunscreen for kids they rely on for theirs, and included personal reviews where applicable.
  • Type: The sunscreens in this article are all formulated for kids, with sensitive formulas or child-friendly application.
  • Brands: From drugstore brands to organic, natural and boutique brands, I’ve included a wide range within this article to cover all wants and needs. 
  • SPF: The sunscreens all have an SPF of at least 30, if not higher.

Best sunscreen for kids

1/12

La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Dermo-Pediatrics Invisible Spray Kids SPF 50+

La Roche-Posay Anthelios UVMune 400 Dermo-Pediatrics Invinsible Spray Kids SPF 50+

The details

  • SPF: 50+

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Lightweight, designed for children, includes La Roche-Posay's Thermal Spring Water to soothe, hydrate and nourish the skin.

HELLO! Tried & Tested

"I’ve been using La Roche-Posay skincare for years and I’m loving the Anthelios Uvmune 400 Dermo-Pediatrics Ultra Light Invisible Fluid SPF50+. The formula is ultra-resistant and really watery so feels super light on the skin. It’s formulated for sensitive skin so no rashes either. The majorly high factor protects from UVA and UVB rays and absorbs really fast, which is great for when kids are you excited for the pool and won’t keep still!"

Laura Sutcliffe, Fashion & Beauty News Editor

2/12

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50

The details

  • ​​​​SPF: 50

  • Mineral or chemical? Mineral

  • Why we love it: Non-greasy. Locks in moisture. Kind to skin.

Hypoallergenic and sweat-resistant, Aveeno's non-greasy sun protection has been designed for a baby's delicare skin, and provides a broad spectrum protection for staying as safe in the sun as possible. Users say it's kind to even the most sensitive of skin.

3/12

Nivea SUN Babies & Kids Sensitive Protect Sun Cream Lotion SPF50+

Nivea SUN Babies & Kids Sensitive Protect Sun Cream Lotion SPF50+

The details

  • SPF: 50+

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Water-resistant. Fragrance-free.

HELLO! Tried & Tested

"As a mother and auntie, Nivea has long been my go-to kids sunscreen. The fragrance-free sensitive SPF50+ formula, which works for all skin types, but particularly for little ones with sensitive skin, eczema or sun allergies, is pretty amazing. Both the spray and cream formulation are easy to apply and really long lasting – they’re water resistant, too."

Karen Silas, Senior Lifestyle Editor

4/12

Green People Organic Children Scent Free Sun Cream SPF30

Green People SPF

The details

  • SPF: 30

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Protects from prickly heat. Organic. Water repellant.

HELLO! Tried & Tested

"Green People's Children's sunscreen is the one we, as a family, have on the go. I love that it's organic, fragrance-free and helps with prickly heat too. It's a deliciously thick, creamy lotion that is easy to apply, and doesn't transfer any colour or staining to clothes - great for both my daughter and my partner and I, who use this too."

Carla Challis, Commerce Partnerships Editor

5/12

Avène Very High Protection Lotion for Children SPF50+ Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin

Avène Very High Protection Lotion for Children SPF50+ Sun Cream for Sensitive Skin

The details

  • SPF: 50+

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Formulated especially for children with sensitive skin, light and very fair skin.

If your child has particularly sensitive or fair skin, Avene's sun cream has been created specifically for those skin types. With the brand's Avene Thermal Spring Water to soothe and soften skin, this SPF promises to look after the skin while protecting it too.

6/12

Heliocare 360° Pediatrics Atopic Lotion Spray SPF50+

Heliocare 360° Pediatrics Atopic Lotion Spray SPF50+

The details

  • SPF: 50+

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Protects against UVA, UVB, Visible and Infrared radiation. Handy spray bottle.

This gets top marks for the broad spectrum sun protection it provides, not just from UVA and UVB but visible light and infrared-A too.

As well as sun protection for kids, the formula includes green tea extract and a blend of vitamins C and E, to help shield skin from environmental aggressors. The spray bottle is handy too.

7/12

Childs Farm SPF 50+ Roll-On Sunscreen Fragrance-Free 50ml

Childs Farm SPF 50+ Roll-On Sunscreen Fragrance-Free 50ml

The details

  • ​​​​SPF: 50

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Roll-on. Great for sensitive skin. Fragrance free.

HELLO Tried & Tested

"I don't think there's been a summer in the last five years that one of these sun lotions hasn't been in my handbag. Not only is the formula extremely kind to a child's skin - fellow parents have probably used the Child's Farm bath or body products, so know how gentle it is - but the roll-on element makes it robust from spilling in my bag, but easy for me to roll onto my daughter even when she won't stand still.

"We rely on this sunscreen in the height of summer as it really does protect the skin incredibly with zero aggravation. My five-year-old takes this one to school too, as it's super easy for her to apply herself."

Carla Challis, Commerce Partnerships Editor

8/12

ISDIN Wet Skin Pediatrics Sunscreen Transparent Spray

ISDIN Wet Skin Pediatrics Sunscreen Transparent Spray

The details

  • SPF: 50

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Absorbs onto dry or wet skin. Transparent. Spray.

HELLO! Tried & Tested

"When I discovered ISDIN's transparent spray there was no going back to other brands. I love that it can be applied straight out of the pool and it cuts the time it takes to apply sunscreen literally down to seconds! 

"My kids are pretty hyperactive and impatient so getting them to stay still to apply sunscreen was always a nightmare, but with this, a quick spray and you're done. It comes out almost like a mist and it dries quickly. It's light on the skin, has a very minimal pleasant smell and doesn't leave any stains on clothes. It offers great protection - my kids have never burned, even under the harsh Spanish sun. I love it so much that I buy the adults version for myself. It's not cheap but it's worth every penny."

Katherine Robinson, Senior Lifestyle Editor 

9/12

Supergoop! Sunnyscreen 100% Mineral Stick SPF 50

Supergoop!

The details

  • SPF: 50

  • Mineral or chemical? Mineral

  • Why we love it: Stick formula. Creamy feel. Easy to apply.

Supergoop! is known for their adult sun protection but now their kids SPF is getting attention too - and this sunblock stick is the thing for throwing in your changing bag or rucksack for on the go application.

The mineral formula is kind on delicate skin, has a creamy finish and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

10/12

Ambre Solaire SPF50 Sensitive Advanced Anti-Sand Mist

Ambre Solaire SPF50 Sensitive Advanced Anti-Sand Mist

The details

  • SPF: 50

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Sand resistant formula. Hypoallergenic. Non-sticky. Spray formula.

Ambre Solaire's anti-sand formula is a favourite among parents for those beach days, as it's designed to stop sand sticking to the skin - genius. 

It's also SPF50, offering high protection, and the mist spray application means its easier to apply, even on busy, wriggly kids.

11/12

Sqween Paint On Sun Protection

Squeen Sunscreen

The details

  • SPF30
  • Paint-on formula
  • 100% mineral

If you want to impress your kids, this incredibly cool paint-on sunscreen should do the trick! The formula comes in a tube with brush, which can be painted onto the skin and rubbed in. The sunscreen itself is available in four colours, and means you can easily see where you've applied the lotion. Plus, it washes out of towels and clothing with ease.

12/12

Mustela Very High Protection Sun Lotion SPF50+

Mustela SPF

The details

  • ​​​​SPF: 50+

  • Mineral or chemical? Chemical

  • Why we love it: Light, invisible texture. Water resistant. Soothing to the skin.

HELLO! Tried & Tested

"I love the Mustela suncare range - it's lovely smelling, kind to skin and gives great sun protection. Their SPF factor 50 is a great product for children who suffer from sensitive or itchy skin."

Sophie Hamilton, Parenting Editor

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